Skitch comes to iPhone

Note-taking and simple sketching app Skitch has been available for Mac and iPad for some time now, but a recent update has added support for the small screen of the iPhone. Skitch, published by Evernote, is a free Universal download that’s available now.

The original Mac version of Skitch was primarily designed to be a screenshot tool that built on Mac OS X’s built-in capture feature with the ability to annotate images with arrows, text and freeform drawings. It was kept deliberately simple with a limited set of tools and colors and never marketed as a full-on painting or drawing program, and this simplicity was one of its greatest strengths. When Evernote acquired the rights to the app, an iPad version appeared, allowing users to annotate images of any type on their tablet and sync them with their Evernote account. Evernote compatibility has since been added to the Mac version (at the expense of the original version’s private hosting) and this new iPhone version has appeared.

Skitch for iPhone provides users with a number of options to create their Skitches. It’s possible to snap a photo with the camera, choose a photo from the library, take a snapshot of a map, start with a blank page or capture an image of a website using the built-in browser. Once the initial “background” has been chosen, the user then has access to a number of different tools with which to adjust and annotate their image. These include a freehand drawing tool with a semi-transparent “highlighting” option; preset shapes including rectangles, rounded rectangles, ellipses and straight lines; arrows; text; the ability to pixelate part of an image; and a cropping tool. The drawing tools may be used in one of eight different colors and three different line thickness settings.

Objects may also be edited and resized by tapping on them and then either dragging them around or dragging a handle in their lower-right corner respectively. It’s even possible to move individual freehand strokes as vector objects, allowing for minor adjustments to be made to diagrams without having to redraw them completely.

Skitch is a great app, but it does feel a little cramped on the iPhone’s screen as the interface gets in the way a little bit. A pop-out toolbox in the top right and an undo button in the lower left corner mean that it’s difficult to start drawing in those particular places — though if this happens, there’s nothing stopping the user rotating the device to its alternative orientation and starting their drawing on a smaller version of the image they’re manipulating. It’s not an ideal solution, but at least it works.

Evernote sync is seamless and may be set to only occur over Wi-Fi if the user is concerned about their data usage. Images may be shared with others via email or a public link, and Twitter and Facebook compatibility is also provided through iOS 6’s built-in social features. Oddly, the user must specifically choose to turn on Twitter and Facebook support in the app’s settings menu, even though Skitch does not automatically share content to these services.

Interface issues aside, Skitch’s iPhone incarnation is a good addition to an excellent suite of image annotation utilities, and only continues to make Evernote one of the most useful, fully-featured cloud-based productivity solutions out there. While some users have been (justifiably) bemoaning the fact that the Mac version of Skitch appears to have been losing features rather than gaining them over time, the product’s mobile versions only continue to go from strength to strength, offering a simple means of quickly sketching and sharing ideas, whether they’re simple doodles or more complex annotated diagrams.

Skitch is currently ranked at No. 30 in Top Free Productivity Apps and No. 17 in Top Free iPad Productivity Apps. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.

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